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SIDE STORY III: The BIG Wedding PDF Print E-mail

By Pamela Kiria, I-Network.

It all started as a rumour that bred panic and confusion! However, it was officially confirmed by Bharti Airtel on Tuesday 23rd April, 2013 who announced that it would buy out Abu Dhabi-based Warid Group’s. The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) later announced its approval of Airtel’s merger with Warid. A number of questions have been raised ever since:

 

  • Will the “Warid” brand be dropped?
  • Will Warid subscribers have to re-register their mobile numbers?
  • Will the original Warid numbers be changes to match those of Airtel?
  • Won’t Warid employees lose their jobs?
  • What would happen to all the Warid promotions and packages that its users had subscribed for?

One may feel that Warid has indeed betrayed its users. After choosing to subscribe to Warid out of all the other options, now here they are being succumb to an adoption into a family that they had deliberately avoided! With these additional 2.8million Warid users, Airtel now boasts of having 7.2million subscribers. This raises the issue of whether it is time UCC permitted Mobile Number Portability (MNP). This would give these 2.8million users the freedom of choice to either leave or join the Airtel family as opposed to this “hostage” scenario.

(Picture by Airtel Uganda)

This merger is definitely a win for Airtel. However, that doesn’t mean all is lost for Warid subscribers. The merger catch phrase, “Things will only get better,” may actually be true! Communication between these two networks is now on-net. This means that Warid to Warid offers are now synchronised to Airtel as well. For example at 1000/= a Warid user gets 25minutes of Pakalast and can also call Airtel numbers.

There is a possibility though that the Warid brand shall eventually be wiped out. However, it shall be remembered for its creative dynamism that often offset the telecom industry and its outrageous promotions like “pakalast” which won an award as the Best Innovative Product of the Year in UCC’s Annual Communication Innovation Awards held at Speke Resort, Munyonyo on 29th October, 2013.

The Warid independent brand shall indeed be missed. Meanwhile, we await the materialisation of yet another rumour of another possible telecom company merger……… ;-)

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